The Symbols are a popular female-fronted blues/funk/rock trio from Fort Collins, Colorado. Formed in 2011 by guitarist Jasco (former guitar player for Grammy-nominated Blinddog Smokin') and vocalist/songwriter/bassist Mer Sal, The Symbols are centered around a dynamic musical and life partnership. They write their own music, in addition to writing arrangements of known tunes, to be different sounds and styles than they were intended. Their unique sound, charisma, and songs are winning hearts through theaters and festivals across the country.
In 1998 McKay recorded his debut CD, entitled Wiley Cotton, which is dedicated to his father. The CD is an acoustic-electric blend of eleven of his original songs. IT showcases a range of bluesy folk and soulful rhythm n' Blues. Some of the musicians that appear on the CD include Johns brother Bill McKay on piano and organ, Derek Trucks, members of Runaway Truck Ramp, Dave Watts from the Motet, Edwin Hurwitz from Shakedown Street and Mark Vann from Leftover Salmon.
John put out a second CD in 2001. This self titled CD features his solo style of playing. It showcases his singing and songwriting with some finger style tunes thrown in the mix. As a solo performer McKay has opened for such national acts as Hot Tuna, Leftover Salmon, Zachery Richard, Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band.
With the help of Chris Lakinac on drums and co-production, McKays most rocking effort was completed in 2008. 'Beetles and Bacteria' has a powerful mix of tracks. The songs range from heavy grooves such as '98 Years' and 'Lazy from Booze' to the more funky grooves of 'Marleys Song' to the more upbeat songs such as 'Marleys Song' or 'Paper Walls'.
Throughout all the years of performing, John continues to play with his brother Bill. This unique duo of guitar and keys delivers a smooth vocal harmony above rich and tight musical arrangements. A musical portrait of Americana/Blues and Folk/Rock that has been developed over a 30 year span is hard to match.